Summer was nice, but we’ve all missed the ice. Fortunately, the wait is over. It’s Welcome Back Week for hockey players nationwide.
From Sept. 18-24, 2017, USA Hockey is celebrating hockey’s opening week and extending a warm invitation for players to rejoin us at the rink for another great season.
As the game’s national governing body and the endorsed player-development program of the NHL, United States Olympic Committee and the International Ice Hockey Federation, USA Hockey offers everyone a place to play, love and excel. Last season, a record number of players – 555,175 – answered that call in the United States. It marked the fourth straight season of increasing American participation.
And speaking of calls, youth hockey players throughout the nation recently received a personal invitation from USA Hockey and some of its biggest stars, who were working the phones prior to Welcome Back Week. It was a special start to what is sure to be a special season, with the Winter Olympics and Paralympics mere months away. Before that, USA Hockey will host annual events like IIHF Girls Hockey Weekend (Oct. 7-8, 2017) and its national Try Hockey For Free Day (Nov. 4, 2017).
Going for gold will be the theme when the calendar turns, with the U.S. National Junior Team defending its gold medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Dec. 26, 2017-Jan. 5, 2018) on home soil in Buffalo, New York. February will welcome the Winter Olympics and the 13th annual Labatt Blue/USA Hockey Pond Hockey National Championships in Eagle River, Wisconsin (Feb. 9-11, 2018). March begins with USA Hockey’s second nationwide Try Hockey For Free Day of the season (March 3, 2018) and the 2018 Winter Paralympics following closely in PyeongChang, South Korea, from March 8-18, 2018. After that, it’ll be April and USA Hockey Nationals for youth, girls, sled and adult hockey at sites across the country.
“We're always eager to get back on the ice this time of year, whether it’s coaching our kids or playing or both,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey. “It’s a great time of year, remembering the excitement of our own first steps on the ice and everyone who helped us take those first steps. We get to return the favor with a new generation of American players every September, and that’s what Welcome Back Week is all about.”